City Council, National Guard visit armory site

New Ulm Mayor Robert Beussman (left) Gen. Rick Nash and others toured the future site of the new Minnesota Army National Guard (MNARNG) Armory and Filed Maintenance Shop Tuesday. Staff photo by Clay Schuldt

NEW ULM — Mayor Robert Beussman and the City Council took a field trip to the future site of the new Minnesota Army National Guard (MNARNG) armory and field maintenance shop Tuesday. They were accompanied by Gen. Rick Nash and Rep. Paul Torkelson and Sen. Gary Dahms.

Nash visited New Ulm to provide information on the project and formally accept the deed transferring 30 acres of city-owned land to the MNARNG.

The city approved the purchase of this land in February at a cost of $36,000 per acre. The city purchased 31.24 acres from Steve Somsen, Pennel Somsen and LaNay Locher for $1,124,640. The additional 1.24 acres will be used as right-of-way for the city.

Nash was pleased with the land. The site is located off Highway 14 near the airport. Nash was able to fly into New Ulm by helicopter and make a short trip by van to the site.

Nash said the Guard appreciated the city of New Ulm stepping up to help complete this project and anticipated another century of good relations between the city and MNARNG.

“These construction projects were one of my highest priorities since I became adjutant general seven years ago,” Nash said.

The new National Guard site will consolidate other facilities across the state and bring them New Ulm. This will expand the capabilities of New Ulm maintenance shop and add additional full-time and part-time employees to work in New Ulm.

The field maintenance facility will have about 15 full-time mechanics. The readiness center will have 20 full-time personal. That’s 35 employees working and possibly living in New Ulm with families. In addition contractors and vendors will be needed to create the project.

Like the current armory, the facility will be open and available to the public.

After the oral presentation from the MNARNG, the City Council formally presented Nash with the deed.

The built project will be federally funded. Groundbreaking is anticipated in 2020 with a projected completion for October 2021. The readiness facility is expected to break ground in 2023 with completion in 2024.

In other news:

• The council approved a contract with Stonebrooke Engineering to provide an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) transition plan and inventory for the city. The ADA requires public entities with more than 50 employees to have responsibilities over streets and walkways to create a transition plan that identifies the steps needed to bring infrastructure under their authority into compliance.

The staff has received seven proposals to prepare and provide the ADA transition plan and inventory work. The lowest cost proposal was $34,200.

City Engineer Steve Koehler said this is the first inventory of this kind conducted in New Ulm. This work must be in process for the city to receive any federal grants.

• A special vehicle permit fee was set at $50. This permit fee applies to anyone applying for a permit to operate a golf cart, UTV, mini-truck or other specialized vehicle within city limits.

Councilor Les Schultz felt the fee was too low, since the chicken permit was set at $40.

Councilor David Christian reminded the council this was only for the remainder of 2017. The city could raise the fee in 2018. Once approved, the permit is for a three-year period.

Council President Charlie Schmitz said the fees in other communities have been lower than $50, but that was generally in smaller communities.

The purpose of the fee is to balance out staff time in processing, filing and retaining the application. At this time the city is estimating the cost of this process.

The permit will be available Tuesday, Sept. 5.

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